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If Half a Billion Dollars for HIV Services and Treatment Disappears, Who Pays the Price?

Advocates Say Proposed Changes to the 340B Program Could Mean Fewer Services and Longer Waiting Lists for Meds

October 29, 2015

Ursula Blanc has not been above walking into an emergency room with clients who have been discharged with a prescription they can’t afford and asking for a generic replacement. So when Iris House, the small Harlem nonprofit she works for, qualified for steep drug discounts and opened its own pharmacy last April, it was a revelation.

Suddenly, Iris House could work directly with a contract pharmacy so that eligible clients, most of whom have HIV, pay nothing out of pocket for their medications. Iris House could then deliver medications pre-sorted into daily pillboxes or blister packs, eliminating the pill bottles that can disclose HIV status. It could deliver those pills to clients on-site during regular services — or straight to a client’s door.

Now all that is at risk. Click to read more.


HIV/AIDS cases quietly increasing, especially in the South

By Nancy Badertscher

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Monday, Oct. 19, 2015

Celebrity just keeps elbowing its way into the 2016 presidential race.

It continued last week in advance of the first Democratic debate when CNN decided to ask celebs what question they’d put to the candidates.

Atlanta’s own part-time celebrity-in-residence — Sir Elton John — said his question to the candidates would be about the fight against HIV/AIDS.

“In spite of great progress, HIV/AIDS is actually dramatically on the rise in the U.S. South. What would you do as president to help stop this epidemic, particularly among minority communities?” John said he’d ask.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, about 1.2 million Americans are living with HIV, and about 12.8 percent of them don’t know they’re infected. Click to read more.


Across the U.S., People With HIV Join Forces to Build Networks Stronger Than Stigma

August 25, 2015

Since the beginning of the AIDS epidemic, networks of people living with HIV (PLHIV) have played critical roles, supporting their communities while advocating for effective, science-based policies to combat the virus. However, many of the networks that thrived in the early years have diminished or disappeared, along with the nation’s sense of urgency about HIV. According to Tami Haught from the Sero Project, this has left many PLHIV feeling stigmatized and alone, and without a community to help them fight for their rights and health.

“We need more networks advocating for the community and combatting stigma by speaking out,” says Haught. “We need to advocate for better access to care, for accelerated research on HIV and aging, against criminalization of PLHIV and on so many more issues.”

In an effort strengthen existing networks, with a particular emphasis on those in the South, the Sero Project is teaming up with the Southern AIDS Coalition (SAC) to hold a Network Empowerment Preconference on September 18, in advance of the 18th annual Positive Living Conference in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, one of the largest gatherings of positive people in the country. Click to read more.


Why Atlanta Is An Epicenter Of A New HIV/AIDS Epidemic

By Sean Powers

GPB News

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

On a late night in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward, lots of people were leaving and going to bars. Out there on the side of the street was Gary Jerkins of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. He was standing in front of a large HIV testing van.

“Get tested! Get your result in one minute,” Jerkins shouted as people passed him. “Participate. Raise awareness.”

Jerkins passed out condoms and candy.

“So, we pass out lifesavers and we tell people that the test can be a lifesaver, he said. “We pass out dumb dumbs and we say don’t be a dumb dumb. Know your status. And we pass out Smarties. Smarties get tested. Know your status.”

Jerkins says every status is good whether positive or negative if it means halting the spread of HIV. Atlanta is the fifth highest metro area for rates of new HIV diagnoses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“In many ways the South is the epicenter of the epidemic and really Atlanta is the epicenter of that,” said Nic Carlisle, executive director of the Southern AIDS Coalition. Click to read more.


Guess Which Part of the U.S. Has the Highest HIV/AIDS Death Rate?

Blue Nation Review

A report from the Southern AIDS Coalition and shared in the New Republic says that nearly 40 percent of HIV diagnoses occur in just nine states located in, you guessed it, the Deep South.

That’s extremely disproportionate to the population of the Deep South, which accounts for just 28 percent of the national population. The five-year survival rate for people diagnosed with HIV or AIDS is also the lowest in this area.

So what’s going on here?

Well, some of the answers won’t surprise you. Click to read more.


Op-ed: Why An Ad Featuring A Transgender Woman Means So Much

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention just launched a new HIV awareness campaign this past September simply titled, “HIV Treatment Works.” It’s CDC’s first campaign of its kind, utilizing the stories and faces of people who are living with HIV and are on treatment for the condition. Fifteen people across the country were chosen to share their challenges and successes with staying in treatment for HIV. The campaign will feature print ads for magazines, posters and billboards. Participants also created public service announcements that will be hitting cable stations over the next few months.

As a local resident of Asheville, N.C., and a long-time survivor of HIV/AIDS, I was thrilled to be asked to be one of the 15 people across the country to take part in the campaign. It is a groundbreaking project showing that an HIV/AIDS positive diagnosis does not have to be the end, but instead the disease can be managed and risk of transmission can be diminished. The campaign urges people, who have HIV to seek medical care, start taking medications and adhere to treatment. I was pleased to bring national focus to North Carolina, especially the western part of the state as we are continually overlooked for funding in regard to HIV/AIDS. Click to read more.


HIV Health Literacy in the South: A Work in Progress

November 4, 2014

Nearly half of all Americans with HIV live in the South, with prevalence rates in Georgia, Florida, and Louisiana now at 200 per 100,000 people — a rate surpassed in the U.S. only by the heavily populated Northeast. According to the Southern AIDS Coalition’s 2009–2010 HIV/AIDS Health Care Policy Brief and Recommendations, Southern states also continue to have “the highest newly reported HIV cases and the smallest decrease in deaths due to AIDS,” and “Providers have become increasingly concerned and frustrated at the prospect of having to provide increased care to meet increased need with fewer dollars.”

Unfortunately, as HIV rates in the region have continued to rise — especially among young, poor, black, and Latino men who have sex with men — government resources for people with HIV have decreased dramatically. As a result, people with HIV, their caregivers and service providers, and others face significant challenges in gaining access to accurate, up-to-date information about HIV treatment and prevention, as well as in receiving quality care. Click to read more.

ViiV Healthcare Expands Program to Reduce HIV Disparities in Southern U.S.

Positive Action Southern Initiative Commitment Continues with New Grants Awarded to Seven Organizations, Bringing Total Funding for Grassroots Projects to More than 2.8 Million to Date

From IT Business Net

October 20, 2014

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C., Oct. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ –ViiV Healthcare today announced seven Positive Action Southern Initiativegrant awardees in Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi for programs focused on reducing disparities in HIV/AIDS linkages to care and treatment among at-risk populations in their communities. Recipients will receive up to $50,000 per year for a provisional commitment over the next two years to support the following programs: Click to read more.

Southern states are now epicenter of HIV/AIDS in the U.S.

The Washington Post

September 22, 2014

New Yorker Deadra Malloy was diagnosed with HIV in 1988, but she remained healthy for so long that she wasn’t completely convinced she was positive. When she started getting sick in 2006, she decided to embrace her “ancestral roots” and accepted a job down South, where her mother was from. Malloy didn’t know that the move, first to North Carolina and then to Columbia, S.C., would make it much more difficult to manage her disease. New York offers free health care, including HIV drugs, to HIV-positive state residents who are uninsured or underinsured, while assistance is harder to come by in North Carolina and South Carolina. A single mother of two at the time of her move, Malloy couldn’t afford her medication, which cost upward of $2,500 a month. So she did without it for nearly a year — and ended up in an emergency room with a raging case of pneumonia. Click to read more

SAC Set to Release Southern States Manifesto

From Southern AIDS Coaltion

July 18, 2012

A new report prepared by the Southern AIDS Coalition (SAC) is scheduled for release at Shine the Light! on July 23, 2012. Guests will gather at the Woolly Mammoth Theatre, just half a mile south of the Washington Convention Center, where more than 25,000 service providers, advocates, policymakers, and researchers will be convened for the International AIDS Conference 2012 (IAC). This year’s conference is the first time in more than 20 years that the IAC will be held in the United States, and the venue offers unique opportunities to focus attention on the nature and scope of the HIV epidemic in the American South. Click to read more

SAC Announces New Executive Director, Michael Murphree

From Southern AIDS Coalition

June 1, 2012

The Southern AIDS Coalition (SAC) is pleased to announce the appointment of Michael Murphree as its new Executive Director. Michael brings with him more than 10 years of senior level HIV/AIDS, mental health and public health experience including agency development, professional and administrative supervision, grant project management, and professional speaking. Click to read more


Positive Living 15: Connecting Hearts and Minds

Several attendees drove fifteen hours from St. Louis. Others came by caravan from Atlanta. In the hotel lobby there were happy reunions of friends who hadn’t seen each other since last year. Click to read more


AIDS Watch – AIDS Drug Assistance Program

The National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors publishes ADAP Watch, a monthly newsletter containing data on state waiting list and other issues impacting access to HIV/AIDS medications.
ADAP Watch Update 2-24-2012



SAC Information Alerts

Email alerts are periodically sent on HIV/AIDS events, policy statements, and advocacy initiatives that impact the southern region. Click Here to sign-up.



SAC Archived Articles

“The Deep South Is the Latest Epicenter of the HIV Epidemic”


“HIV/AIDS is Worse in the South”


“HIV/AIDS Crisis Across the South”


“AIDS no longer just city problem: Coalition says South needs more funds to fight disease”


“I Know. I Took the Test: Stories from the Southern AIDS Living Quilt”


“Neglecting HIV/AIDS in the Southeast”


“Report Warns of AIDS ‘crisis’ Across the South”


“Endgame: AIDS in Black America”


“Southern US Has Highest AIDS Related Death Rate, Least Funding”


“Southern AIDS Coalition Seeks Equitable Distribution of All HIV/AIDS-Related Federal Funds”


“The South Shall Rise Again”


“The South Rises Again


“Southern AIDS Coalition says Thousands Facing Problems with HIV/AIDS in South Carolina”